Family’s touching tributes to dad killed in street attack

TOUCHING: Floral tributes left by the family of John Potts in Barmston, Washington.
TOUCHING: Floral tributes left by the family of John Potts in Barmston, Washington.
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DEVASTATED family members of tragic Sunderland dad John Potts have left tributes at the spot where he lost his life after a street attack.

A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder after the 45-year-old died in Barmston, Washington, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Floral tributes from family members were left at the spot.

One touching message left with the flowers said: “To John, our brother, taken too soon. RIP. Love you. It just doesn’t seem real. We will miss you forever xxxx.

Another read: “To uncle John, we’re absolutely devastated you have been taken too soon. All our love from your broken hearted nieces and nephews.”

Police were called to the scene after receiving a report from the ambulance service that a man had been assaulted outside the NE38 Sports Bar at about 12.50am on Sunday.

Paramedics found Mr Potts had suffered a head injury and battled to save him but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Northumbria Police say a disturbance involving a group of men took place in the street before Mr Potts’ death.

Detectives believe those involved knew each other and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

An area outside the bar and also around a bus stop on the other side of the street were taped off yesterday as police launched a murder probe.

One resident, a 52-year-old mum of two, who did not wish to be named, said: “I looked out the window just before midnight and it was very quiet, so I was a bit shocked to hear what had happened.

“At the end of the day it is someone’s relation. It is very sad.”

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fairlamb, from Northumbria Police’s Major Crime Team, said: “We’re keen to hear from anyone with information in relation to this incident.

“We believe there has been a disturbance in the street involving a group of men prior to this man suffering fatal injuries.

“I’d urge anyone who witnessed this or who may know those involved to come forward.

“At this stage it appears those involved were known to each other.

“We have officers at the scene and surrounding area carrying out investigations.”

A 29-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to the incident.

Acting DCI Fairlamb added: “We have made two arrests in connection with it and enquiries are ongoing to trace those involved or anyone who may have witnessed the disturbance leading to the man’s death.

“Anyone who thinks they may have information in relation to this incident, no matter how small, is urged to contact us as this may prove vital to the ongoing investigation.”

Tributes were also left to Mr Potts on the Echo’s Facebook page.

Ken Ellison wrote “RIP POTTSY LAD,” while Deb Taylor said “Such sad news Rip John .. sending love to the family xx.”

Vicky Garbutt said “RIP John, didn’t know you well but you were a laugh to be around and seemed like such a canny bloke,” and Mandy Waddle added simply “Rip John, absolutely devastated! X”

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward and contact them on 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 81 23/11/14, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.